World Bank’s IFC invests $1 mln in Egyptian start-up Vezeeta
The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested $1 million in Egyptian technology start-up Vezeeta, IFC announced on Friday.
Vezeeta operates an online platform that allows patients to quickly find doctors in three Middle Eastern countries. IFC’s support is also expected to help Vezeeta more than triple the number of patients it supports, boosting it to 1 million within the next five years.
The new investment is part of IFC’s broader efforts to support entrepreneurship, expand access to finance for African start-ups and help create new markets.
IFC’s equity investment is part of a larger financing package of up to $12 million in capital that Vezeeta recently raised from several investors. BECO Capital, a venture fund that IFC invested in earlier this year, is among the financiers. The package will help Vezeeta—whose database includes more than 4,300 doctors and specialists—to scale up its operations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan while expanding into other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“IFC is a global power that will not only help fuel our growth but also bridge us to an incredible global network.” Amir Barsoum, founder and chief executive of Vezeeta said.
Egypt’s population is expected to grow to 128 million by 2030 from about 97 million. The country’s spending on health care, however, has not kept pace with population growth, IFC statement read.
IFC said its financing for Vezeeta aims to change that. It is a part of a push by IFC to support innovation in the disruptive-technology space in emerging markets.
“Start-ups like Vezeeta have the power to drive innovation in the Middle East and Africa,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC’s chief executive officer.
“Entrepreneurs across the African continent have enormous creativity and drive—and they’re using the power of new technologies to tackle the region’s most formidable social and economic challenges.” Le Houérou added.
In recent years, IFC has invested over $100 million in start-ups, venture funds, and accelerators across the MENA region. In Egypt, IFC has invested in Flat6Labs, an accelerator; and Algebra Ventures, a venture-capital fund. The institution’s aim is to create an ecosystem that supports start-ups like Vezeeta, which have the potential to make life dramatically better for the people of this region.
In financial year 2018, IFC investments in Egypt hit a record $1.2 billion (including funds mobilized from other investors, supporting the country’s banking, infrastructure, construction, agribusiness, and manufacturing sectors.